Why Steelers should target Antoine Winfield Jr. in the 2020 NFL Draft
Moving forward to the offseason, we kick off our Steelers prospect watch list with the University of Minnesota’s, S Antoine Winfield Jr.
Many would suggest the greatest thing a parent could see their children do, is to accomplish as much as they can in a field of work that they love to do. No matter the stakes against them, be better than what the parents were in the event that they can prepare the generations ahead of them. Steelers are in the field of play to be able to draft a player of need who’s living that exact journey.
Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr., son of former Jim Thorpe award winner & 14-year NFL veteran, Antoine Winfield, embellishes the saying that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. The Gopher DB finished his college campaign with his best year to date in 2019.
Totaling 83 tackles, along with 3 sacks, 3.5 TFL, 7 interceptions, 1 pass deflection, 2 forced fumbles, and one touchdown, he was a playmaker on the backend of a Minnesota defense that only allowed 184.2 passing yards per game (9th in the nation). Thus earning him Big 10 defensive back of the year in 2019, Antoine Winfield Jr. is a name Steelers fans should begin to familiarize themselves with
The Best of Antoine
Antoine’s 7 interceptions on the year tied 4th-most in the FBS and defined his best trait as a player, his ball-skills.
Primarily the free safety for the Gophers, Winfield has the range & athleticism to cover the whole field. An intelligent player also that seems to always be in the vicinity of where the ball is at, he tracks QBs eyes as well to put him in position to make plays.
Although he only stands at 5’10, he’s still solid in his build at an estimated 200 pounds and is willing to come up and tackle. Versatile and aggressive, Winfield embodies what you want out of a safety, but a couple of “deficiencies” will slide him back possibly into mid day 2.
The Worst of Winfield
Every player has to improve, but the negatives on Winfield’s game don’t necessarily reside on the field. Perhaps, his willingness to tackle opponents can sometimes leave him over-pursuing his angles, but teams could pass him up due to size & medical history.
No matter what he can accomplish on the field, coaches have their preference in measurables. Winfield has clearly shown he can ball in spite of such, but if he charts at 5’10 with the possibility of 5’9 at the combine, teams will ignorantly scratch off a talented individual from their boards.
Then always remember, the best ability is availability. Winfield was able to play the full course of his “sophomore” season, but it would be the first time he would do so since being a freshman. A season-ending hamstring & a non-contact torn ligament in his foot apprehended him in years 2-3, where he only combined for 8 games.
Fit With Steelers
The risk is evident with Winfield, but if he were to end up in Pittsburgh, he could be that counterpart desperately needed to Minkah Fitzpatrick. An argument could be said to not give up on Terrell Edmunds so early, but an uninspiring year has fans in doubt if he was a worthy pick.
Officially declaring less than a week ago, the Bronko Nagurski finalist (best DB in the country) gave his remarks & sent his thanks, ending it with exuberant confidence that “It’s my time”.